Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Oh, Grow Up!

Or at least knock it off.

The bile has been oozing at many blogs over Twisty's post on blowjobs. I wasn't going to post on this, and I'm still not going to address the subject, since any discussion leads to a deconstruction of the writer's sexual habits. I'm not going to talk about my sex life on the internet. This post is about the behavior of people on both sides of the issue.

Why are we so incapable of discussion? You know, one person states her opinion, the other person listens intently, then states her opinion as the first speaker listens. Then both women discuss the implications of their beliefs, possibly argue over points, and hopefully, learn from each other.

I'm posting the two most vile statements I saw in my reading on this topic. One is from a poster on the pro-blowjob side, and one is a comment from someone on the anti-blowjob side. The subject of the influence of the patriarchy on blowjobs actually is important, should be discussed, and evaluated. Instead, we get childish attacks on people with opposing viewpoints, and a terrible callousness for other people's suffering.

In a post titled "Oh yes, please tell us more about this 'Teh Sex' you speak of, oh wise asexuals!", R. Mildred writes:

(warning: attacks sexual abuse survivors)

I know I know, I was as shocked as anyone else to find out that lesbians find fellatio and penises disgusting, and while some idiot who never got over am incident of abusive sex they experienced once and has decided that, due to the wonderful combination of being frightfully dull and being too shit scared to risk being hurt again, that all sex with guys is Teh Icky and anyone who has sex with guys is trying to cozy up to the patriarchy etc…etc… *yawn*, those of us with two brain cells to rub together and an ability to actually connect in a sexually intimate way with other human beings of a male persuasion tend to be able to find ways to invite men into our beds without turning it into a threesome with the patriarchy.

In a post at Twisty's, luckynkl writes:

Well shoot, isn’t a cock hanging out of a woman’s mouth the picture that comes to mind when we think of women’s liberation?

It never ceases to amaze me how men are able to convince so many women that even the most violating and degrading of acts are “natural.” What’s next hetero girls? Allowing men to shit in your mouths because that’s what’s pleasing to him?

We need to be able to discuss difficult subjects. But no meaningful discussion will occur when people write things like the statements quoted above.

I read other people's blogs to learn from them. But the climate of discussion on blogs is hostile and hateful. Refusing to hear other perspectives leads to very limited knowledge, a limited worldview, and a constrained life.

I feel as if I'm pounding my head into the wall when I write about these issues. The people who read my blog are generally not the people who need to hear this. Oh well, I guess it just has to function as ranting.


Madame DeBarge said...

Okay, neither of those people are talking about a loving, healthy relationship between two people. Jesus. Even I can figure that out.

There's a big difference between abuse, or what happens in porn, and what goes on in the privacy of two people's bedroom. I hope both of those posters totally feel ashamed of themselves, but probably not.

neuralgourmet said...

Wow. Proof that the same idiotic thinking and behavior I deplored in high school survives into adulthood. I hope if I ever say something that stupid you'll be sure to let me know what a moron I am.

asdgasdfaserwe said...

I'm personally not very keen on public internet discussions because I am not particularly interested in hearing comments that are like the two examples you've just quoted and, let's face it, there is a lot of that going around.

spotted elephant said...

Madame-No, I don't think they do.

TNG-I consoled myself during high school that it would soon be over. I'm so glad I didn't know then that those behaviors never go away.

It's hard to imagine you saying something like that, but rest assured, I'd be very vocal about it.

FF-I'm getting to the point of giving up on the public discussions because this stuff is literally everywhere. I don't want to-one of the appeals of the internet is connecting to so many people, but, whew!

neuralgourmet said...

FWIW, the discussions over at ScienceBlogs are usually pretty good. And usually the discussions at NG are excellent (such as they are). Don't give up entirely.

nectarine said...

Yeah this is totaly why I've started moderating my comments, though to be honest I seem to get reders who are respectfull when discussing such stuff.

It drives me crazy that there is so much bile and defensiveness during discussions it makes it seemthat neither side is examininig their choices or actions.

I hate the fact that so many people think it is okay to challeneg other people but then go off on one if they themselves are chalenged

Kim said...

Wow ... I was just thinking about this today: How many women in the blogsphere are seeming to delight in verbally attacking other women.
Myself, I'm TRYING to see other sides, while respectfully offering my own thoughts. I don't understand this almost gleeful abadon some women seem to be taking at the chance to rip into other women.

Wouldn't this anger be better off directed at well, The Patriachy???

Biting Beaver said...

*smile* I agree with all that you've said SE.

The simple fact is that the bj fiasco IS something that should and perhaps must be talked about but it can be perpetually frustrating to see these sorts of comments.

This is the main reason I stopped the discussion on the makeup post. It exhausted me to see all of these women whom I love and adore and support saying hurtful things to each other. And, as you have already stated, it is both sides that engage in these sorts of tactics.

In the end I think that perhaps the way to do these sorts of topics is to simply state, at the beginning of the post, that ONLY comments that are respectful, thoughtful and so forth will be allowed. And then, add a stipulation that states that at any point if the discussion degrades then you'll shut down the thread entirely.

I'm with Kaka, the blame needs to rest upon the shoulders of the oppressive class and the anger should be directed there.

hexyhex said...

when I contributed to that comment storm, I was under the wacky impression that we were all having a conversation, albeit one that a few poster got heated about. Then the two "sides" really formed, and it turned from a discussion into an argument. It was, albeit, an argument with valid points on both sides, but by that point both sides were so heated that neither was listening or evaluating. It was also an argument that was really unnecessary.

When it started spewing onto other blogs, I more or less went "Gee, hexy, think you should just back the hell away from this one before someone drags you into a shitfight." So I did.

The topic interested me enough to post my opinion in "discussion" mode. But I'm just not launching into "argument" mode (much less "war" mode) when the topic at hand is blowjobs. That's just... wrong.

asdgasdfaserwe said...

The more I think about it the more I realise that I'm not at all keen on 'debate' and not really wanting to hear the 'other side'.

As women who demand equal rights (the whole hog, not just some measly token rights) we are in minority. We have patriarchy shoved down our throats every day of our lives and I, for one, really don't want to indulge the opinions or views of people that are sexist, neither do I want to 'see things from their perspective'.

I'm sick of the male-centered perspective and know it inside out. Anyway, long way of saying that the kind of online conversations that I feel I can draw something from are the ones where we teach each other new stuff.

And I'm talking about conversations that we ourselves invite, not ones that are forced on us. Good conversations have lots of honestly asked questions. Having said that, I probably need to start asking some more questions myself. Mind, the internet doesn't lend itself very well to that.

Justjuliefornow said...

Moderation [of comments] appears to be the key. I like to read reasonable dissent even if I don't agree with it because it makes me think. But some people are out there doing nothing but baiting others and they need to be deleted, but also, the others need to refuse to rise to the bait.

I disagree with FF (respectfully) and think hearing the other side is a good thing, as long as it comes from someone offering something valid. Yes, that validity is subjective, but that is the beauty of blogging: on your blog you make the choice. With moderation, as over at D of BB, the moderation allows reasonable debate and deletes (I assume) the a-holes who are trying to start a fight.

Mary said...

At the risk of looking like a comment-spammer, I'm going to just repeat what I said over at

I have to say, I don’t really understand what’s going on here. Some feminists wear makeup? OH NOES. Some feminists dress “sexy”? THE HORROR. Some feminists give blowjobs? WON’T ANYONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN. Yes, like Twisty, it galls the shit out of me when women aren’t as hardcore as I am about feminism, because OF COURSE deep inside I think my brand of feminism is the best and only one. Of COURSE I think that. I’M HUMAN. But beating up women who care about other women is what men do, and the last time I checked I had an innie and not an outie, so fuck a bunch of that who’s-a-better-feminist shit. No one’s a perfect feminist. We all do crap that leaves us open to criticism because WE ALL HAVE TO GET BY. There’s always someone more or less hardcore than you. And this infighting foolishness isn’t for shit.

spotted elephant said...

FF-I should say that I don't care to hear patriarchal arguments either-you're right-we're drowning in them. I do want to hear other perspectives from feminists, and from people who are advocating equality. The fact that this is going on within feminist circles is what ticks me off.

Julie-I think that's what you're getting at too-valid points deserve attention.


I think these issues that have been the source of fighting really need to be discussed. But what's happened is a shouting match consisting of personal attacks. You're spot on in that we all do things that aren't feminist. That's why it's so important to honestly discuss the issues instead of attacking.

Kim said...

I'm LOVING that Mary :)

mandos said...

Yes but what about poutine? Can somebody please think about the poutine?

Edith said...

Being a grownup is no fun. Like you have to be held accountable to your actions and behavior and stuff. :(

If we would just, y'know, shut our traps and listen to each other, then we could debate. We don't, of course. Which is too bad. I suspect that some of us (me, included) use sensationalist wording in our writings in the hope that someone might see the MESSAGE under all that vitriol, but sadly, this tends to be self-defeating as usually only those provocative wordings are repeated.

I don't really know if the pro/anti front is really so divided anyway. And the language/imagery might seem triggering or uncalled for, but honestly I don't see the point in playing the "respect" game when there's obviously no respect to be found. Fake nice posts and comments get on my nerves more than the outright rude ones.

spotted elephant said...

Edith-I don't want fake nice posts. I want women to cut the crap and handle this in a reasonable way.

The two sides aren't that divided, as usual. I'm sick to death of this style of "discussing" important subjects.

asdgasdfaserwe said...

I'm not sure it can be claimed that we truly do discuss important subjects: our need for validation often overshadows our desire to empathise with other women; hence the projection of internal conflicts onto the 'other side'. This polarisation ensures our hypocrisy remains unexamined.

My name is FF.
I'm a hypocrite.